Director of Military Intelligence Major-General Amos Yadlin spoke before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday and warned yet again against Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Iran is biding its time on manufacturing a nuclear weapon for diplomatic reasons, he said, adding that Israel could still prevent the Islamic republic from gaining atomic capabilities.
"It all boils down to fissionable matter," he explained. "The Iranians have finished developing surface-to-surface missile which can carry a nuclear warhead and Tehran has mastered uranium enrichment technologies and can pursue nuclear military capabilities, but ultimately it is a decision the Iranian regime has to make.
Yadlin at the committee meeting (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"The Iranian strategy is not to get one nuclear bomb as soon as they can, so as not to give the world a reason to act against them," said Yadlin. "They are trying to get within short term reach of a bomb and they are enriching uranium in a rate meant to make it very hard to incriminate them."
Tehran's uranium enrichment rate, added the MI chief, stands at 4.5% – below nuclear weapon grade.
"They have 4000 centrifuges in a facility monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). They have the knowledge to enrich uranium to 93%, making it weapon grade. The rate they are going, they will only need a few months to go from 4.5% to 93%."
Despite painting a bleak picture, Yadlin stressed that the fight to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power has yet to be lost: "The Iranian threat is a threat to world order, not just to Israel. That is why we must present the world with incriminating evidence of their real intentions. The right combination of sanctions and incentives could lead to a change in Iranian policies."